My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Tablets and the Future of the PC - Jurassic Park and License to Kill

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tablets and the Future of the PC - Jurassic Park and License to Kill


….Death
The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
No traveler returns

Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, 1

The PC is soon to be the next casualty of the Apple iPad. So says the analysts at Gartner, who cite decline in actual sales of PC’s versus projections as stated in the article “Tablets will displace PC units; Time to pick winners and losers”, published November 29, 2010, 8:24am PST By Larry Dignan, Between the Lines - ZDNet

Ditto too the article “Gartner: Tablets, Economy Taking Bite out of PC Sales”, published November 29, 2010 by PC Magazine as well as the article “Tablets taking a bite out of PC sales: Gartner”, published November 29, 2010 by AFP

The article “Watch out, PC: The Tablet cometh”, published November 29, 2010 by Ben Patterson, Technology Writer, Yahoo News rounds out the resources that are death knell for the demise of the PC.

Analyst Gartner said, and I quote “Over the longer term, media Tablets are expected to displace around 10 percent of PC units by 2014”. Silly me, I thought it was only the Laptop and the Netbook that the Apple iPad was predicted to cannibalize according to initial predictions as stated in the article  “iPad, Tablets expected to dampen Netbook sales”, published April 6, 2010 8:17 AM PDT by Lance Whitney CNET News – Crave

It was also heralded in the article “Netbook Sales Sag as the iPad Arrives” published April 7, 2010, 12:27AM EST By Cliff Edwards, CNET News – COMPUTERS, as well as anticipate in my blog article entitled “Apple iPad and the future of computing”.

Analysts further went on to project sales of up to twenty eight million (28,000,000) Apple iPads by 2014 as stated in the article “Tablets threaten to make Netbooks obsolete”, published Wednesday September 8, 2010 2:20 pm ET by Tony Bradley, Cold Business Center, Yahoo News.

Evidence later in 2010 closer to Christmas pointed to this trend ACTUALLY occurring, with news coming from the horses mouth: Micron reporting lackluster Laptop and Netbook projections as stated in the article “Micron: Apple iPad, Tablets ding PC, Notebook demand”, published October 8, 2010, 7:42am PDT by Larry Dignan, Between the Lines, ZDNet and Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn announcement of a 50% slump in NetBooks and Laptops sales in his Best Buy Retail chain as stated in the article “Best Buy CEO; iPad cannibalizing Laptop Sales by up to 50 percent”, published Friday September 17 2010, 6:10 am ET by Chloe Albanesius, PC Magazine, Yahoo News.

The Apple iPad’s dominance of the nascent Tablet market is very well documented by analysts Strategy Analytics whose report Reuters echoed as stated in the article “Apple has 95 percent of Tablet market: Strategy Analytics”, published Tuesday November 2 2010, 7:59 am ET, Reuters, Yahoo News in this “secret” battle for Survival of the Fittest, Charles Darwin style as opined in my blog article entitled “Dell Inspiron Duo and Solid State Drives - Charles Darwin and the Survival of the Fittest”.

But PC’s?

Wouldn’t the Tablet’s portable form factor be more likely to kill the Netbook and the Laptop?

CNET News Writer Brooke Crothers had prognosticated, based on a report from a J.P. Morgan Wall Street Analyst named Christopher Danely that the demand for Tablets created by the Apple iPad was making investors less optimistic about the future of the PC

This despite the positive soundings of Doubting Thomas’s Intel and AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) makers of the majority of the PC processors as stated in the article “Demand Dichotomy: PC's down, iPad up”, published August 11, 2010 3:58 PM PDT by Brooke Crothers, Nanotech - The Circuits Blog, CNET News.

CNET News Writer Brooke Crothers strikes again, this time echoing the sentiment of PC being potentially being killed off by an overambitious Nvidia, at least according to the claims of Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang as stated in the article “Is the future PC a smart phone?”, published Saturday September 25 2010 by Brooke Crothers, Nanotech - The Circuits Blog, CNET News.

So the predictions as stated at the very start of this article are right on track. But why is the PC also being cannibalized? What in the market is making people even forego PC purchases in favor of a Tablet?

Logic is the key in elucidating an explanation, with statistics providing the evidence. In lieu of statistical evidence i.e. surveys, polls, etc., we must turn to logic and reason. The Tablet is a screen with a processor inside and a touch interface keyboard, in its most basic form. Most people are not Touch-centric as yet, but like the fact that the Tablets promise ten (10) hour battery life, making it better than a Laptop, the honey that draws them in.

Some of the early innovators have sensed this and have licensed the design of docking cradles to Third Party companies, that allow for keyboards, mouse and other external powered devices to wirelessly connect to the Tablet e.g. Hewlett Packard’s HP Slate 500 as stated in the article “Meet the HP Slate 500”, published October 21, 2010 3:05 PM PDT by Erica Ogg, CNET News - Circuit Breaker.

Dell’s Dell Inspiron Duo, which is a Netbook-Tablet Hybrid, training wheels for the not-so-touch-centric as stated in the article “We get out hands on the Dell Inspiron Duo”, published November 18, 2010 1:25 PM PST by Dan Ackerman, CNET News – Crave.

American Consumers, strapped for cash after the Summer of 2010 spent on smart phones as stated in the article “The summer of the smart phone shortage”, published July 13, 2010 4:00 AM PDT by Marguerite Reardon, CNET News - Signal Strength (http://www.cnet.com) and backed up by my blog article on the subject entitled “Apple and its products - when Supply and Demand twain can meet”,

Customers, who are still wanting more but constrained the Recession and armed with the above knowledge that the Tablet can double as a PC replacement, are increasingly picking the future, herein represented by the Tablet as suggested by a recent survey of customers as stated in the article “Survey: 80% of Tablet buyers will choose iPad”, published Tuesday November 2 2010 by CNET News. All you have to do is get used to touch typing and the touch-cenric interface and you’re set.

But if this is true in the Developed World, what is to say it will not be true in the Developing World countries like Jamaica as well? I am cautiously optimistic about Jamaicans adopting ANY new technology such as Tablets, preferring rugged, modify-able products with lower pricing points than innovation.

This is based on anecdotal evidence from an old C&W Technician friend of mine (2001 to 2005, not 2004) who lives in New York, who in a phone call via Google Voice commented on the number of Jamaicans she saw on Black Friday this past Friday November 26th 2010, in long lines at the temple to Technology Bargains aptly named Staples, making purchases of two (2) or more Laptops, ostensibly for friends and family here in Jamaica at rock bottom prices as low as US$299 (JA$25,700) for a 500GB Hard drive, 4GB DDR2 2.4GHz Hewlett Packard Laptop.

No doubt the prices will return on the Sale Days leading up to Christmas of 2010, making more Jamaican at home happy for a Laptop, forgoing pricey local alternatives such as Amazing PC and Watt's New Jamaica, who are selling (or is it fleecing?) Laptops and Netbooks for twice the prices quoted above.

Friends abroad make my articles more realistic, reflecting Jamaican preferences on the ground in New York, a snapshot of what Jamaicans back home in Jamaica may prefer for the Christmas - and Tablets are nowhere in this line-up, typical Jamaican regarding the Tablet as a flimsy toy.

But give it another two (2) years before Tablets begin to catch on or trend, as Jamaicans, more price conscious, mop up the Laptops and Netbook now falling like dead leaves being pruned from a Silicon Valley tree, museum pieces fit for Jurassic Park (1993). Administrator Kirk’s of the Geezam blog, for whom I am a guest writer, is a bit more optimistic, stating that the time span is shorter for adoption.

Maybe less than two years?

Who knows?

Silicon Valley, looking for more niche markets to sell their products, may be after all eventually be going after the increasingly affluent tastes of Consumers in Developing Countries who want a piece of La Dolce Vita that Developed World countries flaunt on Cable Channels.

With the need to expand their markets as Americans shift away from PC’s which may also be snapped up by Jamaicans during the Christmas period, Tablets now have a License to Kill (1989), as per the James Bond movie, adding the PC to the trophy wall of Consumer Electronics devices that may soon be adorning the History Section of the Smithsonian, sharing a spot with the Laptop and the Netbook, which CEO Steve Jobs helped to make extinct.
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